Top NBA Prospects in the Big East, Part Five: Prospects #6-10September 14, 2015
Luke Fischer arrived at Indiana as part of a highly-touted recruiting class, joined by Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, and Stanford Robinson, all top-100 recruits in their own right.
Fischer never really lived up to that promise, however, as a shoulder injury before the season started, combined with the emergence of Vonleh, limited Fischer's opportunities. Fischer's Indiana career ended almost before it began, as he very quickly elected to transfer to Marquette, and back to his hometown state of Wisconsin, midway through his freshman season, after only 130 minutes in a Hoosiers uniform.
After seeing little playing time at Indiana, averaging 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10 minutes per game with the Hoosiers, Fischer made an immediate impact with the Golden Eagles upon becoming eligible in mid-December, chipping in 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots in the first game he was eligible to play for Marquette. While the Golden Eagles struggled to a 13-19 record under rookie head coach Steve Wojciechowski, their first losing season since joining the Big East in 2005, the emergence of Fischer, who finished the season averaging 11 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game in over 29 minutes per night, gave Marquette some much-needed size up front.
On the offensive side of the court, Marquette used the 6'11” Fischer with his back to the basket quite a bit, as post-ups made up nearly 50% of his half-court field goal attempts, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Fischer doesn't have an incredibly diverse set of moves in the post, with almost all of his attempts coming off of simple hook shots, with an ability to make shots over either shoulder. He sometimes flashes other moves, such as a drop step move that he uses at times to attack the basket, but he can sometimes appear like he's out of his comfort zone, and can look rushed.
That being said, while Fischer's post game is fairly limited, what he does he does relatively well. He establishes good position down low, and has enough strength in his still-developing core and upper body to hold his ground and play through contact. He positions himself well and does a good job of sealing off his defender to give him a clear angle at the basket, and gets good elevation on his hook shots, making it tough to block.
The rest of Fischer's offensive game comes mostly off of hustle points, including offensive rebounds, cuts to the basket, and in transition. Fischer is a quick, fluid athlete, who can beat his man up and down the court on most nights, and he uses this to his advantage in transition. He also has good hands, soft touch and elevates quickly around the basket, making him a threat cutting to the basket.
One area where Fischer is clearly going to have to diversify down the line is in his perimeter skill set, as he flashed virtually nothing away from the basket for Marquette. Synergy Sports logged a grand total of three jump shots and nine isolation possessions for Fischer on the season. Fischer does have a fairly quick first step and long strides, so if he could force his man to defend him further from the basket it could open up the possibility of assuming a larger role in the half-court offense down the line.
On the defensive end, Fischer makes an impact as a shot blocker, swatting 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes, pace adjusted. Fischer rotates well for Marquette, who plays a lot of zone. Fischer was the only player over 6'7” in size for Marquette last season, and his ability to rotate over and alter shots was critical for their defense. Fischer does a good job of using his good timing and plus length to alter shots, although he will still bite on the occasional pump fake.
The rest of Fischer's defensive game is a work in progress, although he has some tools he can develop. On the perimeter he shows the ability to move his feet laterally well enough to defend the pick and roll, even if he wasn't asked to do so all that much for Marquette last season. Standing 6'11”, with relatively long arms and a developing upper body, Fischer also has the tools to make an impact defending the post, although he can at times be too upright defensively, and can get dislodged more often than he should because of that.
One area where Fischer will need to improve is on the defensive glass, as he hauled in only 4.3 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes, pace adjusted, and with a defensive rebounding rate of only 12.8%, both very poor numbers for a center. Some of this is no doubt influenced by his role with Marquette, as he's frequently playing a zone surrounded by 4 perimeter players, and thus regularly the team's only shot blocker and post defender. The overall scheme and roster construction left Marquette a really bad defensive rebounding team. Despite that, Fischer needs to find a way to make a more consistent impact on the defensive glass, both for his own draft stock and for Marquette's chances at success.
Luke Fischer has a combination of size, athleticism, hustle, and ability to alter shots at the rim that gives him some intrigue as a prospect. While his hook shot in the post will likely remain his go-to move offensively, he'll need to diversify his offensive game quite a bit to really cement himself as a prospect at the next level.
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